The feathery leaves of parsley, added to salads and cooked foods or used as a decorative garnish, are also a source of chlorophyll and vitamins C and A, as well as a versatile herbal remedy. Because of its ability to ease muscle spasms or cramps, parsley is used as a digestive aid. Parsley is also considered an expectorant to be taken for coughs and asthma. And it is prescribed as a diuretic and mild laxative. Native to the eastern Mediterranean area, parsley is now cultivated around the world. One of the first herbs to appear in the spring, the plant develops tiny chartreuse flowers on an umbrella-shaped canopy.
Over the counter:
Available as tinctures and as fresh or dried leaves, seeds, stems and roots.
Tea: 1 to 2 tsp. dried leaves or roots per cup steeped in boiling water for 5 to 10 minutes in a closed container; or chopped fresh leaves and stems steeped in hot water.
Nutrition and diet: Raw, green leaves eaten as a breath freshener.